Arkansas
Military Veterans'
Hall of Fame

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Arkansas
Military Veterans'
Hall of Fame

James R. Oden | Arkansas Military Veterans' Hall of Fame

James R. Oden

Chief Warrant Officer 4 James R. Oden, United States Army, Rogers.  Drafted into service during World War II he served in Japan with the US Occupation Forces.  He served with the US Army 25th Infantry Division during the Korean Conflict. He also served two combat tours in Vietnam as a heavy lift helicopter pilot.  Through three military conflicts he earned many awards including the Distinguished Flying Cross, 3 Bronze Stars, 20 Air Medal (one with valor).  In 1968 he retired after completing over 27 years of service.

He was one of the first pilots qualified to fly the complex CH-54 Skycrane and was trained at the Sikorky aircraft factory as an instructor pilot 1964. In 1968, Chief Oden was selected by the Army for the highly classified test mission to drop 10000 pound high explosive bombs from the sky crane into the jungles of Vietnam to create instant Landing zones for helicopter combat assault. After the mission was Declassified and photos the tests were publicized, Chief Oden was known throughout Army Aviation as the skycrane bomber pilot and was declared a war criminal by Hanoi Hannah, a radio propaganda personality in North Vietnam.

In 1969 he was assigned to the 291st HH company at Fort Sill completing the following duties: dropping a Space Capsule from 13,000 feet to test the parachute rigging, took a 1/10 scale model of the shuttle to 14,000 feet to test guidance systems, developing firefighting techniques using a 1,000 gallon of water bucket, developing a procedure to dissipate fog by spraying it with a mixture of ammonia and urea to open landing zones and airports, and in 1972 as Pilot In Charge took a CH 54 and crew to Panama to attempt to displace the fog in the canal.

James Oden 20 February 1954 swearing in as 2nd Lieutenant

James Oden May 1956 helicopter school

James Oden November 1957

James Oden in the pilot seat.

Skycrane with bomb (10,000 lb explosives), Da Nang, AB

Fort Rucker Alabama. James Oden in dark flight suit with more t-shirt showing.

James Oden 20 February 1954 swearing in as 2nd Lieutenant

James Oden May 1956 helicopter school

James Oden November 1957

James Oden in the pilot seat.

Skycrane with bomb (10,000 lb explosives), Da Nang, AB

Fort Rucker Alabama. James Oden in dark flight suit with more t-shirt showing.

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